“Costa received far too little protection from referee Michael Oliver,” and I didn’t make that quote up

By Tony Attwood

Yesterday’s match was of course one of great joy, but among all the excitement there were two incidents yesterday that seemed to me of great importance: Costa’s yellow for arguing, and the way Ozil took his goal.

Which is why I went looking at the papers this morning and found…

“Costa received far too little protection from referee Michael Oliver as Arsenal’s players engaged in a series of nibbles at him.”

I really didn’t make that up. That is really in the Mirror. 

This is Costa who got Gabriel banned for three matches (thankfully overturned by Arsenal’s dossier on Costa’s appalling catalogue of dirty tricks) and who acted out the part to get Gabriel sent off in his most disgraceful hammy way after Gabriel didn’t even touch him.

The event wasn’t on Match of the Day, and doesn’t seem to make it into most papers.  Costa’s card was for protesting after  Costa had a bit of a tussle with Koscielny by the halfway line.  Koscielny took the ball away, Costa claimed that death to the Frenchman would be too light a punishment and shouted at the ref (or so it seemed) and got a yellow for dissent.   Last season the ref would undoubtedly have sent Koscielny off.  This year it was Costa in trouble.

Now the problem the media has is that because they have never once admitted that there is a problem with refereeing, they can’t admit that things might be changing.  Andrew and I had a chat about this in the pub before the game and we both agreed that there does seem to be a serious mood swing within officiating this year.   Whether it will last is another matter but for now our guess is that it is related to the upcoming change to video refereeing.  The men in the middle just won’t be able to get away with it any more.  Type III match fixing might just have met its own match.  They are getting ready.

Anyway, the Guardian was closer to having watched the match I saw from the East Upper saying, “For one perfect half at the Emirates Arsenal produced something sublime, 45 minutes that contained pretty much the full set of Wenger-isms entwined in a relentless performance of sinuous passing football.”

That of course was not written by Amy Lawrence, who judging by her recent comment about strikers reaching double figures would have said that Arsenal haven’t even got a striker on five goals yet (which of course is true, although we do have rather a large number of players managing to get the ball into the net).

The Telegraph went for criticism of Chelsea rather than praise of Arsenal with  “Antonio Conte fumes as Chelsea’s defence falls apart again in thrashing by Arsenal” and a second headline saying, “Just how bad were Cahill and Luiz?”

The Mail has “Back to the future for Wenger: Arsenal rout of Chelsea recalls the glory days at Highbury as Arsene nears 20th anniversary” and yes it was a bit like that.

But as I say there was one other thing I was looking for.  I thought the third goal was incredible.  Match of the Day made nothing of it, but Ozil’s hitting the ball into the ground to mislead Courtois and to get it to bounce over him was extraordinary.  Had he angled the shot in the conventional manner Courtois would have had much more chance to spot the flight of the ball.  This was one of the greatest bits of invention on a pitch I have seen for years.

At least the Guardian understood what happened saying, although they thought it a bit of a fluke… “The third goal in particular was an absolute sensation, the Full Wenger, a move that brought the manager up on to his feet with huge, sheepish, guilty smile on his face. As the crowd leapt and hugged you half-expected Wenger to start tapping the rim of his champagne flute and making a fond, grateful, dad-ish speech. This was supposed to be another taut London derby, a shaking of the lapels at the hands of Antonio Conte’s high-tempo hustlers. With 40 minutes gone it had turned into a procession.”

The Independent sadly lacks the eloquence of the Guardian’s Barney Ronay on his day and instead had, “This was the best Arsenal performance for years,” which is a bit like saying to your daughter on hearing she has just won Olympic Gold, “well done that girl!”

In fact Mr Ronay was spot on when pointing out just how much of this team is created and moulded by Mr Wenger.  As when he said, “Iwobi fed the ball out to Héctor Bellerín – another Wenger page boy – who crossed into the space teased out of a ball-watching defence. Theo Walcott prodded it home.”

And he got the idea of the final goal too.

With five minutes until half-time the world’s most ethereal high-spec playmaker outmuscled N’Golo Kanté (yes, really) in his own half, scooted away at real pace, exchanged passes with Sánchez and then bounced a slightly scuffed volley down into the ground and over Thibaut Courtois. It was a brilliant Özil moment, and a pointed one too as he did what some have been demanding, driving right through the heart of an opponent in the most cinematic style and then finishing his own move.

But certainly besides Ozil these home built players need a mention, no matter whether they signed for Arsenal before birth as Iwobi seems to have done or got captured in their teenage years.  Iwobi is a sensation who knows exactly what he wants to do with the ball and who does it – usually by passing it to Özil.  It is hard to forget he’s only 20; easier to remember he is the perfect answer to the childish, “spend some fucking money” chant.

Which leads us to Fàbregas who could have been part of all that was so good last night, but chose to wend his own wasteful way.  Last season we had the picture of poor old Cesc going round in circles with the ball twice and then kicking it straight at one of his team mates who was lying on the ground.   This year Fàbregas left the pitch substituted for looking like a player who really should never have been there in the first place.

So what has gone wrong for the almighty Chelsea – the team with so much money they can do anything, buy anyone?    They were as much in the market for centre backs as Arsenal last summer but ended up like this.  We should ask “why?”

Arsenal in case you have forgotten were hopeless in the transfer market, dithering, not meeting asking prices, not wanting a certain player because he didn’t quite match the Wengerian mould.

So, instead of decisive action we got Holding from Bolton for £2m to cries of derisive laughter.   Having seen him play there are still some saying you can’t win trophies with kids, but they are just idiots.   And then we waited, discussed and got Shkodran Mustafi.  How Chelsea must have wished they had bought either of these players.  I wonder why both came to Arsenal instead.

Indeed a strange thing strikes me.  Maybe this Wenger fella knows something about transfers after all.

Final point from the summer.  “Arsenal don’t have leaders, Arsenal don’t have winners” said over and over and over and over and over and … well you get the idea … again.

Chelsea put out a team of winners – they’ve all won the league in various countries and are supposedly built upon leaders.   So maybe one of the people who tells me that Arsenal don’t have leaders on the pitch will tell me who the leaders were in that match for Chelsea.  And as I said, they could buy anyone they want.  They have the money, and they don’t have a manager who refuses to spend.

Recent Posts

Anniversary of the day

25 September 2008: Untold Arsenal predicted that Arsenal would sign a midfielder for £40m.  On 2 September 2013 Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil.



90 Replies to ““Costa received far too little protection from referee Michael Oliver,” and I didn’t make that quote up”

  1. Tony

    “Costa received far too little protection from referee Michael Oliver as Arsenal’s players engaged in a series of nibbles at him.”

    By coincidence, this is what I’d just written on the previous thread regarding Olivers handling of Costa and it fits exactly with your point:

    Regarding yesterday, starting with the appointment of Oliver. This in itself was a shock as we are so used to getting one of the dreaded cartel of stitch up merchants for Chelsea matches.

    I said before the game that I believed Oliver would put in a fair performance, and if he did so and didn’t fall for Costas antics especially, we would win the match, and that is exactly what happened.

    He refereed with an even hand, but most importantly he treated Costas whingeing and whining, every time he was tackled, with the contempt it deserved.

    To be fair to Costa in all other respects he was on his best behaviour. I didn’t see him as overly aggressive. I didn’t see him dive. He just didn’t like being tackled and coming off second best and in a way I don’t have an issue with that, as long as the ref just waves it away, and as I say, treats it with the contempt it deserves.

    And by the way, just to show that regarding a referee as ‘fair’ or not per say, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with results, as prior to yesterday we hadn’t won a match in 13 attempts with Oliver in charge.

    So it’s not just a matter of if we win the referee is fair, if we don’t he’s biased.

    All my fingers and toes are crossed that this more even handed approach from the Referees continues.

    Well done Mr Oliver.

    –Costa not getting enough protection. Beyond laughable.

    Then we move on to Ozils go. There seems to be some debate regarding, did he mean it, didn’t he mean it ?

    Personally I think he miss hit it into the ground. Others that it was a brilliant bit of skill. Hmmmmm.

    I love Ozil as much as the next guy, and there is no doubting his skill, so it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, but I’ve looked at it loads of times I’m sticking with miss hit. But honestly, who cares ?

  2. True, Tony. That Ozil volley into the ground was brilliant, it is something he has pulled off previously so no question if he meant it (as I’ve seen suggested elsewhere). Besides it’s Ozil, a player who can find a teammate with a pass while looking the other way (something he pulled off again yesterday) so questioning if he meant his volley might sound a tad silly.

    Iwobi seems to have definitely arrived, the Nigerian FA must be really patting themselves on their backs for ‘stealing’ him from under their English counterparts’ noses, and why wouldn’t they. The future looks bright..

  3. Hahaha Jambug, didn’t think you would be one of those thinking it was a mishit 🙂 I think he didn’t catch it as cleanly as he would have wanted, but the idea was what he wanted to do. I can’t remember who we were playing when he pulled off another shot like that last season. Anyway I can sort of see why you’d think it was a mishit, but this is from a special player so think we can give him the benefit of the doubt 🙂

  4. thanks so much Tony, been waiting for your review since yesterday. u just sum up everything so perfectly, indeed more like Arsenal 1st half performance yesterday. just watching sunday supplement’ guess what, when it came to them journo to talk about Arsenal vs Chelsea, it’s full of tripe and negativity surrounding Arsenal. only Martin Samuel gave a fair point regarding Arsenal. fuck me’ what do i expect from them sport journos

  5. Fun fact;
    Alexis Sanchez has scored 47 goals in his 100 apps for Arsenal, one fewer than Thierry Henry (48) in his 1st 100 apps for the club.

  6. Great article. Hope the team plays like this on a consistent basis and the refreeing is fair throughout the season we may be able to put a title challenge this season again.

    Where is Proudkev?

    We are missing his comments on this happy occassion.

  7. Ozil scored a replica of his goal yesterday against united last season when we lost 3-2, clip here;

    He also scored a somewhat similar goal against Bournemouth again last season, so two bounce volleys for us in one season.

    And lastly, just take a look at this outrageous bounce pass to Khedhira here;

    He’s done a few such goals for madrid/Bremen/Germany too, just don’t have time to go searching. I’m convinced he absolutely meant it yesterday.

  8. AL

    I suppose there’s only one person who truly knows if he meant it and that’s the man himself.


    RE the ‘Sunday Supplement’. Why do you put yourself through it ?

    I stopped watching that, as well as ‘Goals on Sunday’, the build up to 3 O’clock on ‘Soccer Saturday’, as well as other things, years ago.

    Every one of them where an almost relentless Arsenal hate fest.

    Except for match commentaries, I don’t listen to Talksport or 5Live.

    Except for tv race days, I like a small bet, I never buy papers.

    The entire media is full of Arsenal criticism every day of the week and I just had enough.

    Maybe someone will tell me it’s all changed, but going by your comment it doesn’t seem so.

  9. Rosicky@Arsenal

    Re Proudkev.

    Me too. If you are out there it would be great to hear from you again. If you don’t feel like it, all the best, and I can only imagine you are enjoying yesterday as much as the rest of us.

    Good luck, whatever you are up to my friend, your wonderful comments are missed.

  10. Jambug
    You’re quite right my friend, we will never know and only the man himself will know. My comment about it looking a little silly obviously wasn’t directed at you as we posted our comments almost at the same time; hadn’t yours yet but had seen the goal dismissed as a fluke on other forums.

    But i posted two clips showing him doing a similar move, one when he scored his goal when we lost our match against Utd 3-2 in Feb this year. Comment has gone into moderation, because of the links I think, but watch the clips then let me know if you still think it might have been a mishit. Just let me know what you think 🙂

  11. AL

    I will take a look, but even without seeing them I’m not saying it wasn’t meant, the guy is a genius after all, it’s just what it looked like to me.

    But I’ll get back to you when I’ve seen your clips because previous form can be a good indicator. Doing things more than once does tend to lend itself to the notion that it isn’t a fluke.

  12. in the box no matter how u score as long as its legal who cares. Players have scored the same goal against other keepers. it’s no fluke. a high ball hit straight onto the ground has a good chance to bounce over the goalie.

  13. Well said Tony.

    I’ve seen Fab make a number of dirty tackles on Arsenal’s players over the last couple of years, and he never gets the punishment an Arsenal player would get if they made that same tackle. Fab’s assault on Coq was the start of his injury, and as always, Cesc got away with it. (Even the match plundit mused it should’ve been a booking – once it was obvious Oliver would let it go).

    I’ve seen Mesut bounce the ball into the ground like that a few times when aiming at goal. He’s missed, or the goaly has saved. I’m in the camp that thinks it was more intentional than mishit.

    And, the ref Did try to tilt things. It’s just that there comes a point where certain refs can’t take the utter piss-taking.
    I give you: Manu v Ars at OT in the FkCup. Remember?
    (I’ll remind you): Fellaelbow smashed Coq repeatedly. DiMaria and others swoon and dive. Utd’s fouls become “play-ons” with no bookings.
    Eventually, 60M DiMary pokes the ref for not fulfilling the entitlement expectations – and gets sent off.

    Was that the same ref? Is there a pattern? Check it out.

    Well done Arsenal.

  14. Arsenal physiotherapist was crossly at fault for allowing Francis Coquelin continuing with the game after initially treating him on and off the pitch for a knee injury that looked serious. That error in judgement by the Arsenal physio and medical will now cost Coquelin to be sidelined for a month or two instead of 2-3 weeks if his knee injury had not been aggravated with his returning to the field to play. I think Le Prof should not allow this kind of error in judgement by his dogout medical personnel to prevail in future Arsenal games. And Coquelin shouldn’t have been greedy to continue with playing haven known he had a serious injury last year on the same knee that is injured which had sidelined him for months.

    Yes, Arsenal were audacious in their playing generally yesterday save in minute 20 when William was allowed space to sized up Cech’s goal but his low grounder drove past the post to Cech’s right. And Arsenal defense-line was caught out flat in the 2nd half by Battueye but Cech came to the rescue as he blocked his one on one effort to corner touch. Yes, Le Prof has said there is still some room for improvement in the team before Arsenal will become the perfect team this season and I believe what he said is true.

    5 goals were on the cards yesterday at the Ems for Arsenal to score against Chelsea and concede none. But Arsenal failed to score all the 5 goals but 3 as they lacked the goals scoring cutting edge in the 2nd half which they had in the 1st half of the game. Arsenal became less hungry for more goals in the 2nd half despite their numerous incursions into Chelsea half and box. If the Gunners had not scored the 3 goals they scored in the 1st half, I am sure with the countless incursions they had into the Chelsea box in the 2nd half they would have scored at least 2 goals. This kind of only one half goals scoring mentality by Arsenal should be jettisoned by the Gunners. They should become a 2 halfs goals scoring team in all their game this season in all competitions. Look at how Liverpool massacred Hull 5-1 yesterday through the 2 halfs of the game goals scoring efforts. Goals difference count. The Gunners should endeavour to score more goals as they could in their games this season.

  15. Rantetta

    If it’s the match I’m thinking of it was Oliver.

    As I recall he got roundly praised for a good performance. I may be wrong but that’s as I remember it.

  16. Ublelievable someone said that about Costa.
    Thought the officials did well yesterday, and as mentioned, they seem different to last season, just hope that continues. Maybe someone went just a little too far last season? Maybe they are secure in a belief this seasons anointed will not be caught? Maybe things are just getting better.
    As for Chelsea’s transfers, thought Liuz was a strange one , unless they wanted a midfielder.
    Our signings in 2016 are looking better and better as time passes

  17. Rantetta

    I went back to have a look. I’m guessing we are talking about the same match. The 1 – 2 victory in the FA Cup tie at OT on the 9th March 2015.

    It was Oliver, and I picked just one comment from the many on the match report article from Walter, that was pretty typical. Here it is:


    March 9, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Its been a long time since I saw such blatant diving and cheating as a consistent strategy right through the team as tonight with Utd. I would hope Di Maria, Januzai and especially Young are further punished for their cheating tonight. An absolute disgrace. So nice that their cheating did not pay dividends this time. Poor ref is going to suffer at the hand of Riley though.

    That was pretty typical. Not everyone happy of course but that’s always going to be the way, but overall most people thought Oliver handled Manchester United antics pretty well.

    Go take a look, it makes fascinating reading, if not for just how it highlights how such a relatively fair refereeing performance stood out like a sore thumb.

  18. Iwobi had one of his best games he was slick and had vision this boy is just a joy to watch and how much did he cost? zero. The use of width with speed and moving it behind Chelsea back line is what won us the game. conte came with a game plan of suffocating the midfield and restricting our passing that is what informed inclusion of matic and kante. Wenger starting with Walcott Iwobi and Sanchez was a masterstroke the ozil goal was scored from the wing. The fluid movement of the team left Chelsea shell shocked and before they could say aye goals galore.

  19. Tony
    I see you’re still slagging Amy Lawrence. Why do comment on what she didn’t write? How do you know? Why didn’t you mention the wonderful homage she wrote last week on his twenty years?
    What she did write in the article which offended you so much was completely in support of Arsene’s assertion that we were not converting enough chances. Take a look.

  20. @Jambug

    Don’t forget Arsenal massacred the same Hull 4-1 at their stadium! The boys are doing just fine.

  21. AL

    Thanks for the clips.

    They certainly add credence to the notion he does do it on purpose, so until he says otherwise I am going to go with you and give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Sammy The Snake

    Sorry, not sure what relevance your comment has to me.

  22. Leon, I choose to repeat that comment of Ms Lawrence because she is a highly experienced and well-versed writer. What she wrote was thoroughly misleading, and given her background and vast experience my interpretation is that she knew exactly what she was doing. I can’t see how she could possibly have just made a mistake.

    What particularly concerned me about that “only two” comment, and the reason I have made it my shorthand for what is so wrong about football reporting, is that what Ms Lawrence wrote was quite true but in its implication utterly misleading – and it was written by a person who has often written positive things about Arsenal, is highly knowledgeable about football, and is beyond doubt a writer of quality material.

    That she should engage in such a practice is, I think, very significant and very worrying, and a perfect example of the new direction that football journalism is travelling.

    If she had argued that Arsenal needed a new centre forward because opposition forces were able to play Giroud out of the game, because he is a one-dimensional player, then I would not agree on the evidence I have seen, but would make nothing of it.

    But this was an utterly misleading comment to make a point that had no basis in logic written by a highly esteemed and knowledgeable writer – and that is what makes it (in my personal opinion) worth highlighting again and again and again and….

  23. Thanks Jambug.

    My emphasis on the reffing comes from years of watching them blatantly allow attacks on Arsenal’s players – to which they turn a blind eye, often, along with the commentators, and always justified by various media.

    There are so few matches involving Arsenal that are evenly reffed, and apart from the ref reviews and the rare reports from other sites, the general consensus of a fairly reffed game excludes the nasty fouls (some of which lead up to Coqs injury yesterday, or Theo’s in the Fkup against totty, or Alexis into the concrete pit, etc, etc, etc). “x” amount of games will see Arsenal’s gaining points then there’ll be a game like the one at Southampton! 3 illegal goals. WTF?
    Then what? Blame it on Wenger/board/physio/lack of money spent/ blah blah de bloody blah. Blimey, the consensus prior to the match at Norwich was that Vengar shouldn’t be playing Sanchez cos he’s been playing internationals, so when he’s near crippled, deliberately, by their player, that offender gets away with it.

    I’ll admit, Mustafi could’ve gotten a yellow for kicking Costa’s calves, but Oli had already allowed Chelsea to get away with a few incidents, and I think that’s part of the ‘plan’. Oliver done well yesterday but he allowed things against Arsenal which for me were unacceptable.

    The title and contents of this article says it all.

  24. Tony
    With respect, I don’t see anything misleading in Amy’s article. Arsene says out players weren’t converting enough of the chances created, Amy backs this with the goal totals of our two highest scorers. What’s misleading?

  25. AL

    Thanks for your 10:20 with the links to various Ozil bounce play.
    I knew I wasn’t dreaming that bounce-play is part of Ozil’s skill set.

    Mesut plays wall passes off opponents shins too.

  26. sorry Tony’ i think u just wasting your time trying to explain basic logic to @Leon. he don’t do logic, he do bullshit based on the fact he is still blinded by all the bullshit that footy journos and pundit alike shoved down peoples throat. no wonder some people become more stupid then before when they can’t see the misleading fact that was smears all over the media by the journos. but hey’ some people says brainwash doesn’t work

  27. Similar to something I keep highlighting about Martin Samuel.

    He is no doubt a knowledgeable guy. The fact I cant stand the guy is neither here nor there, he has knowledge, but similarly to Tony’s judgement on Ms Lawrence, it’s how he chooses to use, or ignore, that knowledge that I find so irksome.

    The particular example I am talking about was when he chose to steadfastly stand behind the odious ones assertions back at the beginning of 2015, that Chelsea where being stitched up regarding penalties.

    Now at the time there is no doubt that for about 3 months Chelsea where not getting many penalties, some of which they certainly could of got.

    I have no problem with that.

    What I have a problem with is Samuels abject failure to put those 3 Months statistics into context with the previous 10 years over which Chelsea had had by quite some distance, the best return on penalty statistics in the premiership.

    He also failed to give similar back page coverage to Arsenals utterly dismal penalty return last season, that lasted not just a few Months, but throughout the entire season.

    Maybe it was because Wenger said nothing about it, but even if he had we all know the ‘Whinging Wenger’ headlines we would of had should he of done. Somehow I doubt Samuel would of come out quite so vociferously in support of Wenger don’t you ?

    This is what is so annoying.

    These reporters are not thick. They live and breathe football and as such they know all the same statistics we do, but they cynically pick and chose which ones to refer to, and which ones to ignore, entirely on the back of whatever agenda they wish to pursue, and as we all know, more often than not it is an agenda that involves criticising Arsenal or Wenger in one way or another.

  28. Rantetta

    No problem

    Well, as you say, maybe not perfect, but Mr Oliver has been a damn sight better than most, and by and large I thought his performance yesterday continued in that vein.

  29. I think Ozil meant it (unless I watch one of the replay angles which makes me doubtful)

    Thing that made me sure at the time was that Okazaki had used the same technique against Courtois in midweek. The Japanese almost certainly meant it and it was wonderfully intelligent of him to see that the only way to beat the keeper was to bounce it into the ground and over him.

    If Okazaki had the smarts and the skill, surely our man Ozil does too.

  30. i think M.Oliver is much more fairer than some of the referees in the PL and the new rules seem to be playing in Arsenal favors. u can see the big different from the last season when the game is official with more strictly manners and the players had to be on their discipline mode. it’s seem like Arsenal players are much more discipline and always playing football fairly than the other team and always on the receiving ends of foul play from the opposition players. hope the next step is changing to video refereeing like Tony mention/suggest in the article.

  31. ‘Now the problem the media has is that because they have never once admitted that there is a problem with refereeing, they can’t admit that things might be changing.’

    On a similar note, it’s grimly hilarious how they are dealing with the effects of the clampdown on holding. Their hands are tied when it comes to admitting how much this has upset some teams defensively :

    If you never breathed a word about how teams and players used those tactics constantly and gained a huge advantage by it, what to do when the clampdown throws them into disarray and they suffer defensively as a result?

    There seems only one choice : ignore the clear reality and pretend it is inexplicable and purely the result of poor play.

    It confuses me to see the likes of Keown- an honest man in my book, and one with so much experience of defending- joining in and apparently being confused by how Leicester and Huth in particular can fall from being excellent to shambolic at set plays, but that’s how it seems to be- if you want a career in the media not only do you have to say what is expected of you, maybe you have to believe it,too!

  32. I see bushido is blowing kisses at me again and I’d like to think it’s because he finds me irresistible but I suspect there’s a much more negative strategy in operation here .?

  33. Rich

    Good point about the holding.

    Maybe it is affecting some teams more than others, because as you say Leicester City where particular guilty, and I’m thinking of Huth here, and all of a sudden they look a lot more vulnerable at the back.

    I’m not saying we never did it but for sure some teams seemed much more reliant on it than others, and it could be affecting them.

  34. that’s right @Rich, it’s unbelievable when some of the pundits is trying to defend the shirt pulling and grappling when the rules clearly say it’s forbidden. it telling alot about person who try to justified that act. when the law said it’s prohibit u have to abide it. why is some pundits fail to understand that is beyond reasoning. the other thing is when the journos of the media and pundits acting like ignorant people when it come to subject of refereeing. it seem like the PGMOL chief is having ‘sextape’ of them’lot and is secretly blackmailing them not mention about problem with refereeing ever.

  35. Jambug

    Think Stoke are suffering more than anyone. Saw a bit of their game last week and think they were getting battered at corners ( conceded two in about ten mins I think)

    I’d say you lose at least 50% of your effectiveness at set plays if you have a supreme reliance on holding and then have that taken away from you, and that’s before the psychological toll (uncertainty, the realisation you’re not as good as you thought, added pressures if your form is bad) is considered…It’s f**ing beautiful!!

    Clampdown on backchat must be another big blow. That’s another important part of the cheats toolbox, used to pressure refs, especially at home if you’re trying to work with a hostile home crowd.

    As someone pointed out to me yesterday,though- how come West Brom aren’t suffering? I’ve not seen them this year but these changes, if applied consistently, really are anti-anti-football, so Pulis should suffer a lot from them.

    I genuinely don’t think we held much in recent years. Smart players would’ve known we’re likely to be pinged for it so it’d be part of the general conditioning not to risk it (Kos got the painful early sending off vs City and I can’t remember owt else)

    Should make adapting easy for us, though maybe Xhaka or Mustafa will get caught out.

  36. A really good and interesting Post.

    It is not possible to fault anything in the Post, and that is not surprising as the quality is always good – as a minor thing, the eye was drawn to the section suggesting that Özil deliberately hit the ball into the ground to bounce the ball over Courtois.

    There is no doubt about the brilliance of Mesut, but I recorded the game and played the relevant section about 4 four times, and it was indeed a lovely volley – but a deliberate ploy? well I guess that is in the eye of the beholder. 😀

  37. No worries, guys. Just glad we have this magician turning out for us rather than against us 🙂 and what a joy he is to watch…

  38. @September 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm – when u trying so hard to justified the negativity or so blinded by it, u become irrelevant. when u understand the meaning of that then u can come here and have a conversation like an adult, until then’ u just crawl back up to wherever u came from or u can just stands on that corner’ boy

  39. OT: Mel Charles Obituaries

    I gather something less than 3 hours ago, news stories about the passing of Mel Charles started showing up in the news. He played for Arsenal (and others).

  40. 🙂

    A Chelsea loanee is catching flack from Chelsea fans for liking an Arsenal social media posting. I hope they don’t lynch him.

  41. Are you jealous of Amy Lawrence Tony as she clearly is a professional journalist who has done well for herself. Perhaps you find her a threat. Try enjoying yesterday’s win and maybe you will find peace from the percieved monsters who come to you. Arsene really likes Costa so maybe you are somewhat misplaced. COYG!

  42. Costa got away with an early foul just outside the left side of our box. Oliver gave Chelsea the freekick & the assistant was dumb as expected. The assistant should have signalled but didn’t. It was right in front of us North Bank Gooners. Costa was tusselling with Kos when there was no chance of him going past. In reality Oliver allowed Chelsea the freedom to kick & foul but Arsenal were on the ball & didn’t retaliate or claim for fouls. Costa was behaving like the usual bitch he is. Blocking access to the ball & falling as soon as he failed to retain control.

    He was fortunate to only get a yellow for dissent. I’m sure he’d have had a yellow earlier if the official was strict.

    Arsenal were class. This is our season. There is still a little gelling to be done but my opinion is that this squad is complete.

    COYG – lets take our game to a new level. Please be ruthless & do not relax until the final whistle.

  43. …”Wenger feels ready. Arsenal finished runners-up last season and it is crystal clear where there is room for improvement. He has talked to his team about being more clinical. Only Giroud (16) and Sánchez (13) managed double figures in the Premier League last season. The next best was Mesut Özil (six).”

    Tony is correct.

    So, perhaps someone did interfere with Ms Lawrence’s prose?

  44. Notoverthehill @Sept 25 at 3:22pm- so u got the point what’s all the Ms lawrence fuss that Tony was talking about’ rite. what amaze me is when some people so completely blinded by that fact and try to defend her silly and accuse Tony of jealousy and some even tell him to stop making up story that was not there. did they knew what UA objective is and why don’t they realize that every article about the media tripe is back up by fact and proof. this is one strange world we living in nowdays

  45. Some people seem to think that going to matches gives them more of a right to comment, and what’s more somehow makes them more enlightened.

    From what I’m reading on here the complete opposite seems to be true.

  46. Without a doubt, Koscielny especially and also Mustafi were told to play Costa tight in the middle of the pitch. And, they did put their feet in early and often. However, I didn’t see flailing elbows, arms to the face, ankle breakers or pulling on the shirt. By and large they were a) trying to nick the ball; and b)trying to deny space. They were called a couple of times…meh… but it was encouraging to see such a mature, professional performance by our defenders. And, it was good to see them being allowed to play football without being given spurious warnings that others wouldn’t get for far more egregious ‘defending’.

  47. GoingGoingGooner

    Yep, they played very well and the signs are good that they can form a formidable partnership. Lets hope so anyway.

    Funny how all Wenger’s ‘panic buys’ are doing pretty well, even the ones he didn’t really want in the first place.

  48. engram
    You may be close to the truth re Amy. She has access to Arsenal staff and players that Tony could only dream about, and also regularly contributes to Arseblog’s weekly Arsecast. Perhaps a bit of envy.
    There are folk living in nations who would die for (and often do) a media such as we have in this country. Cherish it I say.

  49. @September 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm(u must be a newbie ehh) – u don’t get it, i mean the world of people who their mind is so blinded that they cannot see the truth even when the fact and proof is right there infront of them. like i said before on my post’ until u understand the meaning and can have a conversation like an adult, just be a good boy and stands there on the corner

  50. bushido
    From anybody else I might consider this trolling, but from a sweetheart like yourself it’s so endearing. Have a nice day.

  51. @September 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm – u are an adult rite, not some teenager playing with mommy phone when she back from work.

  52. Leon

    “There are folk living in nations who would die for (and often do) a media such as we have in this country. Cherish it I say.”

    Come on Leon, it’s not the likes of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein we’re talking about here, it’s football hacks for crying out loud.

    Regaling our footballing journalists on the basis that we have a free press, that is in general to be envied throughout the World, is a bit of a stretch don’t you think ?

    If our footballing hacks are so laudable how come they are so remiss in there reporting of things such as:

    -Child trafficking by certain Spanish Clubs.

    -The squandering of vital funds on a fatally flawed world cup bid.

    -Questioning the wisdom of the FA in dealing so recklessly with FIFA, a body so obviously corrupt.

    This blog was highlighting the dubious behaviours of FIFA for years, whilst our hacks just sat on there hands and let it all pass by.

    -The subsequent failure to invest in grass roots football. Where are all those pitches ?

    -The failure to train enough coaches. Where are all those coaches ?

    Why isn’t our wonderful media asking these questions instead of feeding the notion that all our international ills are down to those pesky foreigners ?

    -The failure of PGMO to employ a much larger, fairer distribution of referees as per the rest of Europe, as opposed to the limited number they do employ who are far more susceptible to corruption, as was shown to be the case in Italy when they had a similar set up.

    According to our media there’s nothing wrong with our referees. In fact they often as not hold them up as the best in the World.

    Our media do not for one minute question PGMO’s ridiculous claim that they get over 90% of there decisions correct.

    Ms Lawrence may of written a nice piece about Wenger but it still doesn’t answer the question, why use selective statistics to make a criticism of Arsenal that just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny ?

    The point being made is that surely it makes it worse BECAUSE she is such a decent journalist, and hence she must of KNOWN she was talking rubbish.

    As I said earlier, it’s the same reason I keep banging on about Martin Samuels defence of Mourinho’s penalty gripes last year.

    It’s BECAUSE he is such a highly regarded journalists that makes it worse, and all the more worthy of highlighting surely. Like Ms Lawrence, Samuels MUST of known how misleading he was being with his selective use of statistics simply in order to make Mourinho’s very weak argument seem more valid.

    In the end Leon, somebody just saying nice things one minute doesn’t mean they cant be questioned about other things they say the next.

  53. What is so difficult to understand. Saying only 2 players had double digit of goals last season in Arsenal is misleading. Simple and Short.

    As Tony explained, only 5 teams have 2 players who hit double digits and no team had 3 players hitting double digits. It should be a thing of pride that Arsenal is one of the 5 teams and not something to use to castigate Arsenal. If you can’t understand this simple explanation, there is nothing more Tony or anyone can do for you.

  54. Jambug
    I guess you’re right, but I’m Ok with our media although as you say they miss some. It’s better than no media or censored media.
    Re Amy. I’ll still support her article. What she said was in support of Arsene’s own criticism of his team for missing chances (read it).She didn’t just say that for no reason, yet Tony continuously selectively does not mention this part of the article.

    Nonny. In her article she was discussing Arsenal’s goal scoring vis a vis Wengers criticism of his team for not scoring from chances created. No need at all to make comparisons with other teams. So where is she misleading?

  55. state aid lost at their new tax payer house 0-3 to Southampton. can’t wait to see Martin Samuel choked on his beloved team performance so far this season. finger cross that he will do an article maybe about his Westsham in crisis, but i will not get my hope to high about that. knowing the journos, they maybe ignored it as long as they can if it’s not involving Arsenal football club.

  56. Leon

    “It’s better than no media or censored media.”

    As much as I don’t like the media in general, I absolutely agree that sadly, they are a necessary evil.

    In fact at there investigative best they carry out an essential job, providing checks and balances to the very corrupt, political and corporate World we live in. Without them we would really be in the shit. Even so I don’t have to ‘like’ them.

    But as for footballing hacks, I cant say that I can see a single useful purpose they serve.

    In fact, when it comes to football, with there snouts well and truly in the trough, they actively feed in to the corruption we have become so accustomed to.

    I’m sorry but I am with Tony all the way on this. These hacks, because I’m afraid that’s all they are, have to be called out for the fact twisting, agenda driven dullards they are, and I’m afraid, for me at least, the odd positive article is no reason to leave to them to there deceitful ways.

  57. Bushido,

    Martin Samuel supports West Ham? Didn’t know that. These journos are like a pack of hyenas Martin Samuel (Mail), Henry Winter (Times), John Cross (Mirror), Charlie Wyett (Sun), Neil Ashton (Mail), Miguel Delaney (ESPN), Phil McNulty (BBC), Oliver Holt (Mirror), Ben Hayward (Goal), Greg Stobart (Goal), Peter Staunton (Goal) and all the Telegraph journalists, etc…

    You will see them working at different places but their agenda driven bullcrap is the same. Like I said they work in a pack.

  58. Usama Zaka

    You forgot 2 of the worst

    The SUNS Steven Howard and Brian Reade of the Daily Mirror.

    These are a particularly nasty pair.

    Fortunately Howard is leaving the Sun, but alas I think Reade is still stinking the place out at the Mirror.

  59. Jamburg,

    Hmm didn’t know about those two but probably I would have come across them on twitter and blocked them 🙂

    For the worst of all is Henry Winter. Possibly a united fan, and a dedicated hater of Arsenal. Keeps writing on utter rubbish/drivel and people bow down to his “football intellect” and to top it all off, he has over 1.1 million followers on twitter. (holy moly, well time to say goodbye, and have to become myself as a football journalist, ta ta) 😛

  60. Usama, not forgetting Chelsea fan Rob Beasley, who released details on his book on Jose….with a few things to say about Wenger, face breaking, and an arsenal player allegedly tipping Jose off about wengers lack of tactics and preparation…….just in time for yesterday’s game.
    Even a site rather critical of Wenger slated Beasley for that, his timing,and the way it backfired on him!

  61. West Ham…..pretty shocking start to the season. They may of course improve……but not easy, changing grounds, even when you get them for free

  62. @Tony,

    Excellent article! I really can’t believe the Mirror said that Costa did not receive enough ref protection!

    Where were they last year like you said after the Costa incident with Gabriel, or when Cahill was trying to break Sanchez’s leg while Ozil was getting elbowed in the face at the same time!

    Or even I think it was two seasons ago, when Ivanovic literally kicked Ozil in the face during a match on a throw in?

    For those interested and enjoyed watching the defensive side, this was one of the best videos I’ve seen of “Kostafi” vs Diego Costa from yesterday:


  63. In essence, Costa is a cheat and a thug, always diving, complaining, poking opponents in the face with flailing arms. In most games he getsa yellow card, but commits enough offences to warrant 2 or 3 (only possible in practice with Poll as referee.)

    Great to see our two centre-backs handle him so effectively yesterday.

  64. For heaven’s sake.

    Tony praises Barney Ronay and criticises Amy Lawrence, both Guardian journalists. How can anyone possibly conclude that Tony is jealous of Amy Lawrence? Why isn’t he jealous of Barney Ronay then?

    What absolute nonsense!

  65. OT: Untold getting heaps of abuse in the Online Gooner comments. Seems that a superb performance and result is scrambling some minds – although plenty are finding issues with something or other yesterday.

  66. @ Jerry September 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm – Lovely clip and set to apt and awesome music ! AAHHHHHHH !

  67. HOSPITAL – The only place where the word ‘Positive ‘ means a bad thing .

    Apparently not , as some of the comments above suggest !

  68. wow, some people never learn apparently. accusing someone blowing him a kisses but in reality he’s the one who sending lovey dovey massage to others. it’s official he’s living in an upside world (when he sees everything positive as a negative thing and a negativity is a positive for him). feel sorry for people like that

  69. The victory was sweet for the fans, players, manager and club. We got a monkey off our back. We out performed and out classed Chelsea in all aspects of the game. Francis hot injured, replaced by xhaka. Like for like player indicating squad depth. And to all the detractors like Wright and Amy who on a tv show predicts probable wins for Chelsea, in your face people. Journalists who support other club can write whatever they want. But for fans of the club to openly admit probable defeat before the game has started is just deplorable. Carry on the good form AFC. COYG.

  70. Need to beat Chelsea at their place too before any monkeys get buried. Anyone would think we won something. Thought this site was big on perspective and scientific analysis and yet it seems full of global village posters and old men telling obnoxious jokes in a 70s bubble which is a tad perverse as Arsene was probably still in short trousers then and had never even heard of Highbury. Imagine quite a few on here have neer been to Highbury. Let’s wait til December at least and see how things are shaping up.

  71. engram

    We did win something. We won a football match in brilliant fashion against bitter rivals. It’s not the same happiness as winning a trophy, but it’s a bloody good feeling nonetheless.

    I’m pretty sure the new development is for that not to be a cause for real joy, in some quarters.

    But…if you’re advocating toning down reactions to single results and waiting till the season is halfway through before making big judgements, I think you’re looking in completely the wrong place for the worst offenders of the opposite of that.

  72. Rich

    In fact, when it comes to the ‘dark side’ we have professions of impending disaster before a ball is even kicked.

    And if anyone really wants to know what ‘over reaction’ is, just go back and read some of the stuff posted on here after the Liverpool match.

    Better still have a peep at Le Grove. One can only imagine the bile and hatred spewed out on that particular day.

    Regarding what’s being said on here, it all seems pretty mild to me. Just a few happy gooners enjoying a job well done and a bit of long overdue payback.

    Personally I haven’t seen a single post where somebody has even suggested we are now going to win the PL. Yes of course a performance like that gives you hope, but what’s wrong with that for pities sake ?

    To me it just seems to be a communal feeling of joy.

    And therein lies the problem for some, because wo betide an Arsenal fan should have the temerity to feel any joy.

  73. Jambug

    Aye, I wrote what I did feeling pretty safe in my guess no-one here had been proclaiming us sure-thing title winners or going ‘that’s it. We’ve done it. Call the engravers’

    I’m also guessing that it was rarer years ago to have people tell you after a good win not to show too much happiness, as nothing’s won and darker times are probably just around the corner.

    That’s a pure guess, mind. Likelihood is there were still some or plenty like that but you’d only hear from them in person. You’d also have the benefit of being able to get a better measure of them, maybe talk them into a bit more cheer or, if they were a pal or acquaintance, know a bit more about the background to any gloomy tendencies.

    But the internet has brought good things,too. It’s easier to remember that while sharing happiness with fellow gooners after a cracking win.

  74. Sumptuous football. That Mr Wenger, I thought halfway through the first half, he wants his team to play football like this. Headshaking in wonder I stand in awe. You can buy a cupboard full of trophies in a trophy shop, you can’t buy 45 minutes like that first half. That’s the beautiful game.

    Many, many thanks to this site. It kept the faith.

    Did Ozil mis-hit his goal? For me, away from home, having found the place to watch, a big screen, a deep armchair, nobody between me and the screen, the intent of Ozil was carried through with the technique. Drive the ball into the ground to give it lift. I came away thinking and marvelling how, in the technique, he could impose direction on the ball’s trajectory.

    Ozil is Ozil.

  75. @ engram,

    In your 10:00 AM post, you stated “Need to beat Chelsea at their place too before any monkeys get buried.”

    Why is it the case that the goal posts always move for some people to the next game when Arsenal win, but if Arsenal lose or draw a match, they are the first ones to project doomsday for Arsenal?

    I could be wrong, but I don’t recall anyone saying we’re definitely going to win the league after the Chelsea result. But if we lose or draw, many individuals come out of the woodwork saying Arsenal is horrible, we will not finish in the top 4, etc…

    Perhaps if these individuals used the same standards on themselves, they would get along better with the posters on Untold.

    That reminds me, I am still waiting for one of these posters to come back and apologize to Untold after Arsenal finished above Tottenham again last year. I think it was Herb’s Army or Chapman’s Army (can’t recall his exact name, but it was similar to that)

  76. Jambug

    I don’t remember what Le Grove said after the Liverpool match, but take your word it was painful. On the other hand yesterday they were rapturous to the extent of praising Wenger. That had to be first.
    But….Online Gooner’s commenters really got stuck into Untold. Quite a lot a very unpleasant stuff there.

  77. On one of the Talksport segment they were talking about West Ham’s poor form, one of the question asked was if West Ham is in crisis? Answer from a panel member was yes but more a ‘mini crisis’, I remember when Arsenal lose 2 games in a row it was a ‘crisis’. Then they talked about the transfers, West Ham signed 13 players or so and say it might have contributed to the poor results due to disruption in the dressing room, when Arsenal don’t sign many players, it’s ‘penny pinching’ and they mock AW when he point out buying for the sake of buying will disrupt the team.

    But Arsenal is one of the biggest football club in the world, so I should expect the bias.

  78. Leon

    To be fair, with regard to LG I did say ‘one can only imagine’ as I never go there. But from everything I here I cant imagine it was pleasant.

    As for ‘online Gooners’ I remember you posted yesterday that they where getting stuck in to UA.

    I must profess as to having absolutely no idea as to there standpoint, but by what you are saying I am guessing they are in a similar vein to LG.

    In all honesty, as much as I am bemused and in absolute disagreement with what I understand to be there views, they are entitled to them, and as such, free to express them.

    When I get frustrated is when they choose to vent there spleen over here.

    After all, we’re just a bunch of misguided, paranoid fools aren’t we, so why not leave us alone to wallow in our own pathetic delusions ?

  79. Fear mongering in the medja

    Francis Coquelin is injured. The prognosis on Saturday, was same type of injury as last season; we’ll have to wait 48 hours to know more. But, almost immediately reports of the injury being serious started up. Opening my Google News search this morning (it is 6:23AM for me), I am greeted by a steady parade of Francis is gone for the rest of 2016. I looked at the Arsenal.com web site, and seen nothing. So I have no idea where the medja is is getting this.

    At this rate, tomorrow we will see stories about this being so serious they have to amputate tomorrow.

    Stories. Fabrications. All products of the imagination, not of research.

  80. Getting rid of those pent up hard feelings , by George !

    George discovered his wife was cheating with another guy, so he went to the guy’s wife and told her about it.

    “I know what we will do”, she said, “Let’s take revenge on him.”

    So together they went to a motel and had revenge.

    After 10 minutes, she said,”Let’s have more revenge”, and they took revenge again.

    After 5 times, George was lying spent, and she said,”Lets take revenge again.”

    George said, “let’s forgive them……………“I have no more HARD feelings left!”

  81. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

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